Saint of the Day – 25 June – Saint Gallicanus of Ostia (Died c 363) Martyr, Layman, firstly as a Ranking Officer in the Imperial Army of Constantine the Great, promoted to the position of a Roman Consul, Convert to Christianity. He died in the persecutions under Julian.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “At Alexandria, St Gallicnus, ex-Consul and Martyr, who had been honoured with a triumph and was held in affection by Emperor Constantine
Gallicanus had been converted by the disciples of St John and St Paul, after which he withdrew to Ostia with St Hilarinus and devoted himself entirely to the duties of hospitality and to the service of the sick.
The report of such an event spread through the whole world and from all sides, many persons came to see a man, who had been a Senator and Consul, washing the feet of the poor, preparing their table, serving them, carefuly waiting on the infirm and performing other works of mercy.
Driven from this place by Julian the Apostate, he repaired to Alexandria, where, for refusing to sacrifice to idols, at the command of the Judge Raucian, he was put to the sword and thus became a Martyr of Christ.”
According to his Acts he was a distinguished General in the war against the Persians. He was also Consul with Symmachus in 330 and perhaps also once before, with Caesonius Bassus in 317. After his conversion to Christianity he retired to Ostia, founded a hospital where he worked with Saint Hilarinus and endowed a Church built by Constantine I.
Under Julian he was banished to Egypt and lived with the hermits in the desert.
A small Church was built in his honour in the Trastevere of Rome. His relics are at Rome in the Church of Sant’Andrea della Valle.
Gallicanus’ conversion was dramatised in the tenth century by the nun Roswitha. St Gallicanus is a Saint of the Colonnade at St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Rome. He is the first Statue on the right (north) colonnade, St. Gallicanus faces toward the front opening of St Peter’s Square. His Statue was carved etween 1670-1673 by Lazzaro Morelli, who was the most prolific of the artists working for Bernini on the colonnade statues, with over 45 of the saints attributed to him.
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